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September 2007

Tenacity or Stiff-Necked Oblivion

Tenacity is a good thing. Sticking with a dream, vision, or goal is a virtue. Sticking with it in the face of obstacles and hardships is heroic. ignoring one's critics when they are nitpicking our inspired visions involves resolve, courage, and integrity.

The extreme of that actually comes around full circle in opposition to virtuous tenacity and becomes stubborn, stiff-necked stupidity. It is the characteristic of not listening to sound advice or heeding warnings when our judgment is flawed, our motives are unsound, or our actions are illegal, immoral, or ill-advised. It is the sin of not seeking counsel and ignoring it when it is offered.

Proverbs 29:1 says," A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
       will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy." (NIV)

The reason for sme of our failures is just this. we live in LaLaLand on the river known as De-Nial. We have no regard for accumulated wisdom, experience, or authority. We operate as mavericks in a world of self-interest and instant gratification.

We are warned, re-warned, and warned some more. The consequences of our courses are spelled out and we exempt ourselves from the laws of nature and of time-honored ethics. We are told what will happen if we continue with our dubious business and lifestyle practices and are surprised when one daty, after many breaks and numerous chances, it happens.

That is why it says "suddenly" and "without "remedy." It is not particularly sudden to everyone else, but it is to us because we have been denying the possibility of accountability . It is "without remedy" because there have been numerous remedies already offered and refused. At some point, the clock stops ticking and the payments are due.

This is just the way life is. You are not being singled out. Everyone has been very patient with you (see "numerous"). You have chosen the consequences.

You are not exempt.

Don't take shortcuts. Listen to advice. heed warnings. Do the right thing all the time. Play by the rules. Obey the law.

You have the capacity for great success and you don't have to sneak in the back door. Hold your head high ad march in the front door. that way, you will never have to worry about being evicted as an uninvited guest at the success party.

Don't sell yourself short.

You can do it! Do it th right way.

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory
San Diego Airport, waiting for my next flight


Lately, I have posted some messages that might be largely considered promotional in nature - meaning, "to move something forward."

The specific etymology is:

1429, "advancement," from O.Fr. promotion (14c.), from L. promotionem, noun of action from promovere (see promote). Meaning "advertising, publicity" first recorded 1925. Promotional "relating to advertising" first recorded 1922. (Etymology Online)
Motives (also from motieonem and movere) are always mixed. From that reality, they derive their power and complexity. From that equilibrium, we derive the genius of win-win scenarios and shared vision. When all who come to the table have the opportunity to win, everyone is PRO-MOTED, moved forward, advanced, and encouraged to the next level of accomplishment.

I encourage you to always be promoting something and/or someone. Always be looking for ways to win by helping others win. always be advancing an idea, a cause, or an event that will advance people.

In that sense, we are all advertisers:
c.1430, "to take notice of," from M.Fr. advertiss-, prp. stem of a(d)vertir "warn," from L. advertere "turn toward," from ad- "toward" + vertere "to turn" see versus). Original sense remains in advert "to give attention to." Sense of advertise shifted to "give notice to others, warn" (1490) by influence of advertisement, which meant "public notice (of anything, but often of a sale)" by c.1460. The modern, commercial meaning was fully developed by 18c.
We are calling attention to people with the idea of turning them toward an idea, opportunity, or issue they may not have fully considered in the past.

You might balk saying that all this promotion and advertising is too commercial. Consider the roots of commerce:
1537, from M.Fr. commerce, from L. commercium "trade, trafficking," from com- "together" + merx (gen. mercis) "merchandise" (see market). Commercial is 1687 as an adj.; as a noun meaning "advertising broadcast on radio or TV" it is first recorded 1935.
It means sharing merchandise together. Would that future generations would look back on the early days of the Internet and remark that it helped restore a sense of community and togetherness to business, that it leveled the playing field, and opened doors of opportunity to ordinary people.
With all this togetherness, I am reminded of the remark of a business associate once who said that what he liked best about network marketing was making new friends. "However," he said, "if I never made another new friend, I'd stay with it ... for the money."

Money is great! making money together is greater.

Keep advancing great ideas, great people, and great opportunities! PRO-MOTE!

Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

Don't Forget Saturday!

Just a reminder for all who wish to be informed about this great story and opportunity:

If you missed the article, read it here: 

Justice for All

Justice For All

For more information on Pre-Paid Legal services, click picture or go to my site.

If you are interested in Identity Theft protection, check out the IdentityTheft Shield site.

If you are interested in referring others or developing your own business as a Pre-Paid Legal Independent Associate, go to the Get Paid Daily on the Internet site.

I Just Felt Like Giving You All a Gift

Here is some happy candy just because I love and appreciate you all.


Growing up is tough when it is good. It helps to have a friend and a prop or two. At some point we have to leave those friends and props behind as we move toward maturity until we take them up again nostalgically and warmly with songs like this.

We always have our memories.

Make sure you feed the child inside you regularly.

Write It Down

I have boxes of notes. Some are disorganized, mis-categorized, and undated, but they have had and may continue to have a function in my life.

You see, somewhere in the maze of thinking that occupies the landscape of my muddled mind is some machinery that operates only in response to what I commit to paper. If I don't write down a goal, objective, intention, thought, or strategy, it almost doesn't count. Is that just me, or do you have such a mechanism?

I think most of us do and that for many it is in mothballs waiting to be reactivated into the service of our dreams.

You may ask what good are notes that cannot be found?

Good question. When you "make a note of it," something happens in your brain and a corresponding note is made and filed and that machinery goes into operation to bring other mental, physical, and spiritual resources to the aid of your stated intention.

When you make the note, you are sending out a memo to your entire internal "staff" to get busy on today's project. Consciously, you are reminding yourself. Subconsciously, you are activating an army of support and guidance.

If it is the intent of your heart and the direction of your thinking, you are also praying and rallying the forces of Heaven.

Of course, it is always best to have a good filing system, but until that comes into play, keep writing down your thoughts. Keep making "to-do" lists. Write down your dreams, goals, objectives, action plans, deadlines, and strategies. Use symbols, shorthand, words, and misspelled words. Write all over the paper or napkin. Stuff it in your shirt pocket. Look at it if you have a chance. Lose it if you must, but start by writing things down.

I have said it before and will say it many times again: Goals that have not been written are not worth the paper they are written (or not written) on.

It is an exercise with verified results. Practice the discipline of making notes to yourself and see what a difference it makes in what you accomplish.

Here is to your success. - Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

Some Enemies of Success

It has been my practice and spiritual discipline for several years to read a chapter of Proverbs each day that corresponds to the day of the month. That landed me in Proverbs 23 today.

It is also become a discipline to apply some of what I have read to the realm of business and incorporate these truths into my coaching. Let me briefly touch on several today that seem to fall under the category of things that impede our success. What they all seem to have in common is the avoidance of the lure of instant gratification and all of it's manifestations: gluttony, drunkenness, envy, and the like. These are enemies of success.

I am quoting some of these verses today from The Message (See copyright and link information below).

It begins with some extremely practical advice:

When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners:
Don't gobble your food,
   don't talk with your mouth full.
And don't stuff yourself;
   bridle your appetite. (1-3)

Sometimes, people attend business meals with the idea that it is all about the food and their own gratification. Not so. It is about the meeting and the person of influence you are trying to influence.  Gorge yourself later. It has been said that J.C. Penny would take potential executives to dinner and decide whether or not to hire them by whether or not they salted their food before tasting it.

He needed no impulsive associates.

Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich;
   restrain yourself!
Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
   wealth sprouts wings
   and flies off into the wild blue yonder. (4-6)

Keep everything in perspective. pace yourself. Don't become so addicted to your moment by moment, immediate success that you lose the long term benefits of those things that endure the test of time.

Don't accept a meal from a tightwad;
   don't expect anything special.
He'll be as stingy with you as he is with himself;
   he'll say, "Eat! Drink!" but won't mean a word of it.
His miserly serving will turn your stomach
   when you realize the meal's a sham. (7-8)

Again, do not let your gluttony interfere with your judgment. Whoever said that there is no free lunch was being overly cynical. However, there are not many. people operate with some degree of self-interest. Honest people in business are open about this and seeking win-win scenarios. I operate on the principle that I want you to get something from our transaction so that we can all be happy when it is done. Again, gluttony and naiveté are enemies of success.

Don't bother talking sense to fools;
   they'll only poke fun at your words. (9)

Have you ever done business with someone who "just didn't get it?" Another enemy of success is the compulsion to teach that person by banging them over the head with truth. Forget it. Move on to your own success. Don't let addiction to being proved right interfere with your success.

Don't stealthily move back the boundary lines
   or cheat orphans out of their property,
For they have a powerful Advocate
   who will go to bat for them. (10-11)

Dishonesty, based on greed and desire for momentary advantage that leads to cheating people is what is railed against here. god will Himself step in to thwart the success of those who build it by cheating the poor. The hand of justice may not strike quickly, but it will eventually set things right.

Don't for a minute envy careless rebels;
   soak yourself in the Fear-of-God
That's where your future lies.
   Then you won't be left with an armload of nothing. (17-18)

Envy is a major enemy of success. it takes our attention away from what we need to be doing, pollutes our attitudes, and poisons our relationships. Put it away before it gets in your way in a big way.

This includes all sorts of comparisons with other people.

The genius of network marketing is that you succeed by actually cheering for people to succeed.

Oh listen, dear child—become wise;
   point your life in the right direction.
Don't drink too much wine and get drunk;
   don't eat too much food and get fat.
Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row,
   in a stupor and dressed in rags.(19-21)

In contrast with wisdom is the success enemy we call substance abuse. Include in that category all forms of alcohol, illegal drugs, excessive use of legal drugs, and addictive sexual behaviors (which produce drugs through our endocrine system). Add addiction to food, called gluttony which produces lethargy and  so many ailments and you have a cluster of enemies to success. we could go on and on about ways they rob us of vitality, resources, time, energy, motivation, and positivity

These were as much of a problem in Solomon's day as they are today  for those who indulged in them. The problem is that there seems to be a growing trend toward these forms of self-indulgence accompanied by media affirmation that we should do the things that make us feel good and that pleasure is our ultimate god.

Not only is that not spiritually true, but it is practically disastrous.

How do we avoid that enemy? Moderation is the key to avoiding addiction in some behaviors. In others, absolute abstinence may be in order because of the  power of certain substances to establish a quick and certain foothold in a person's life.

Addiction is a major enemy of success and friend of poverty today.

Consider these symptoms:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sleeping late
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inattention
  • Irritability
  • Uncontrolled spending
  • Health problems
  • Missing appointments
  • Incarceration
  • Inability to drive safely
  • Broken relationships
  • Legal entanglements of a civil nature
  • Exposure to severe liability
  • Loss of drive
  • Preoccupation with satisfying momentary urges
  • Laziness
  • Much, much more ...

All of these are problematic in and of themselves. Together, they decimate your capacity for success.

Get some victory in this area of your life quickly if you wish to succeed. Hint: A vital, growing, committed, and healthy relationship with Jesus Christ and a local church is a beginning context for all sorts of life liberation and personal growth.

Listen with respect to the father who raised you,
   and when your mother grows old, don't neglect her.
Buy truth—don't sell it for love or money;
   buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight.
Parents rejoice when their children turn out well;
   wise children become proud parents.
So make your father happy!
   Make your mother proud!  (22-25)

A know-it-all mentality is an enemy of success. Stop listening to elders and mentors and your will stop growing. Listen. Read. Study. Attend workshops. Read the Bible as if you have never read it before. Spend whatever is necessary, literally (money) to educate yourself. you are your most valuable resources. never stop investing in yourself.


Dear child, I want your full attention;
   please do what I show you. (26)

Don't just learn truth. practice it. Another enemy of success is gathering knowledge and storing it up for the future. Put new knowledge into practice quickly. Don't hide it in your conference notebook files.

A whore is a bottomless pit;
   a loose woman can get you in deep trouble fast.
She'll take you for all you've got;
   she's worse than a pack of thieves. (27-28)

Sexual indiscretion has been the downfall of many an otherwise successful man or woman. Don 't fall for it. Compare a few minutes of pleasure with a lifetime of success, fulfillment, and significance before wandering down the path of momentary ecstasy.

Who are the people who are always crying the blues?
   Who do you know who reeks of self-pity?
Who keeps getting beat up for no reason at all?
   Whose eyes are bleary and bloodshot?
It's those who spend the night with a bottle,
   for whom drinking is serious business.
Don't judge wine by its label,
   or its bouquet, or its full-bodied flavor.
Judge it rather by the hangover it leaves you with—
   the splitting headache, the queasy stomach.
Do you really prefer seeing double,
   with your speech all slurred,
Reeling and seasick,
   drunk as a sailor?
"They hit me," you'll say, "but it didn't hurt;
   they beat on me, but I didn't feel a thing.
When I'm sober enough to manage it,
   bring me another drink!" (29-35)

In short, all forms of self-indulgence and drive for immediate satisfaction and  instant gratification are the enemies of your success. Conquer them and conquer the world!

All the best for your success - Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002  by Eugene H.  Peterson

Justice for All

These words and ideas are mine and reflect only my opinions, but  they are deep convictions and they have led me to forms some relationships with organizations that address some of the inequities I have observed in society.

Is the American ideal of liberty and justice for all a reality?

It may be more so in the setting of criminal law than practical law. Even in criminal law, the outcomes are often inadequate.

The Justice for All Act of 2004 (The Justice for All Act of 2004 (H.R. 5107, Public Law 108-405) is, like most legislation, a bit deceptive in  its name. It covers an important, but severely limited issue of allowing victims to speak at sentencing hearings for perpetrators of crime against themselves.

In a system where there is little relevance in the trial and punishment to the victim and minimal relationship between the entities and issues involved and the final outcome, this is an important consideration - the right of the victim to address the victimizer and confront that person with the impact of his or her crime.

Of secondary, but great importance, is the impact that such speech makes upon juries and judges in sentencing.

What it fails to address is any notion of restorative justice, reconciliation, or restitution, but merely fits within the status quo of a systems that tends to run on its own steam in its own predetermined direction.

Nor does it address the inequities in the system where the poor are often inadequately represented, where dispute resolution in civil matters is weighed to the advantage of the privileged, where prisons are becoming factories for the training and production of hardened criminals, and where victims get warm and temporary feelings of being "vindicated," but no resolution comes to address restoring what they have lost.

It is a rather unimaginative system where advocates of reform generally look within the system as it is to revise and improve rather than affect radical overhaul in thinking and implementation of justice.

Justice is not retribution, but neither ought it be divorced from the emotional realities that crime actually damages relationships, causes pain, and brings loss to people. That is is true for crime, and equally true for injustices in business and family relationships that fall into the arena of civil law.

Other considerations in the matter of justice for all include assuring the integrity of the  gathering and presentation of truth by enforcing civil rights protections to all citizens equally. It requires giving equal access to all citizens to courts and due process as a way of  redressing civil concerns. It necessitates fairness that balances a sterile dispassionate process with a fair, compassionate, and empathetic cadre of real people dealing with real people.

There are some real heroes in the system and  have recently featured one in a posting,

Criminal justice is meaningless and punishment is a mockery if the state is not compelled to prove its case against its citizens beyond a reasonable doubt with honesty and the purest of motives. It is equally meaningless unless every effort and overture has not been made toward restoration of the victim and, if possible, the broken relationships.

An adversarial system, at its best is designed to insure fairness. In practice, it sometimes circumvents the possibility of reconciliation, full disclosure of truth, public safety interests, and redemption of human potential. The awful truth is that we are all flawed human beings with an imperfect system and inadequate resources.

We just have to do the best we can, but we must keep striving.

A disturbingly and tragically growing minority of the population will come into contact with the criminal justice system as defendants or victims. Each must be afforded their rights and laws must address the process that insure accurate verdicts, appropriate sentences, and proper restitution.

However, a majority of Americans will come into contact with every day law, legal questions, contracts, covenants, and matters where legal advice could give them an advantage and, at least, a fair shake.

At the moment, we have the system we have. It is imperfect, but it is what it is and is among the best in history for large societies. we all partake of it and the question is, how well we can avail ourselves of our rights.

Everyone needs a will.

Everyone will sign legal papers at some point in their lives.

We all make major purchases. We all come into conflict with perplexing legal questions. Most of us marry and have children. We get sued or threatened with suits. We get traffic tickets, have accidents, incur liability, and have job related disputes - often between well meaning and decent parties.

Whenever possible, mediation is the best course. However, knowing the law and receiving good advice can often help people avoid legal entanglements, broken relationships, and financial hardships.

The sad fact is that most people fall into the great middle place between those who are entitled to free representation and those who can afford private counsel.

That was the place that Harland Stonecipher found himself in years ago and became the impetus for his vision to bring "Justice for All" to a reality for ordinary people through Pre-Paid Legal. Though I am an independent associate, my comments here in no way reflect their official position. What will accurately portray Pre-Paid Legal's views and story is a documentary set to air on Court TV on September 29. I urge my friends to watch and  become informed. For more information, anyone can check out my  links back to the company's web sites.

Justice For All

For more information on Pre-Paid Legal services, click picture or go to my site.

If you are interested in Identity Theft protection, check out the IdentityTheft Shield site.

If you are interested in referring others or developing your own business as a Pre-Paid Legal Independent Associate, go to the Get Paid Daily on the Internet site.

For my fellow theologians and Bible scholars who wish to do a quick overview of uses of the word, "justice' in scripture, GO TO THIS LINK.

In fact, the book of Proverbs informs the system some well that these stand on their own without necessity of comment.


”I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice …” - Proverbs 8:20

”The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth should not betray justice.” – Proverbs 16:10

”A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice.” – Proverbns 17:23

”It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the innocent of justice.” – Proverbs 18:5

”A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.” – Proverbs 19:28 

”When a king sits on his throne to judge, he winnows out all evil with his eyes.” – Proverbs 20:8

“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” – Proverbs 21:15

“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.” Proverbs 18:28 

Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court,” – Proverbs 22:22

”… do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?” – Proverbs 25:8

“By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.” – Proverbs 29:4

”The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” – Proverbs 29:7 

”If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.” – Proverbs 29:9 

”If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.” – Proverbs 29:14

”Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that man gets justice.” – Proverbs 29:26 

“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." – Proverbs 31:19 

(Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society)

The point is that it is an American, practical, and spiritual value - justice for ALL.

- Tom Sims The Dream Factory



Oh See, Can You Say?

If, with star spangled enthusiasm one might gasp, "Oh say, can you see," might one also find an opportune moment to ask, "Oh see, can you say?"

I am most likely to speak what I see and express what is temporally or metaphorically visible to my consciousness.

In other words, if I can get it, I can give it. If I can grasp it, I can pass it on. If it inspires me, I can use it to inspire others.

Bottom line- If you are a producer of ideas, thoughts, words, and encouragement, your output cannot exceed your resources. You had better be getting positive input if you are going to keep value flowing through and from your life into the lives of others. Deplete your supply and you have nothing to give.

What are you reading?

In my life, everything I produce comes from the overflow of what is being deposited into my life. It crossed my mind the other day that I was getting behind in my reading and that sent up all sorts of warning flags.

If other people are coming regularly to your well to drink, it will run dry unless you dig deeper and find fresh rivers of truth. There is no shortage of Living Water; it is just flowing most freely beneath the surface.

Seeing may be believing and believing may be seeing, but seeing always precedes saying.

Oh see, can you say?

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

Don't Pan the Plan

There is a seemingly disingenuous urge on the part of practitioners of spiritual things to shun strategic planning as something outside the realm of the Spirit. It is as if we do not believe God cannot enter into the process of preparation, but must show up at the last minute in order to get all the glory and save us from any mental or physical effort.

Don't pan the plan.

At some later date, I will do a study of the concept of planning in the book of Proverbs and throughout the scriptures, but for now, i will limit myself to a few verses which live in proximity to each other.

The first reminds us that it is better to plan well and with many advisers than to proceed like a charging bull against all odds to follow our hastily formulated ideas of what needs to be done.

"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed." - Proverbs 16:22

It does not mean we follow all the advice we get. It means we seek it, hear it, consider it, and formulate our strategies in view of it.

Of course, "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan  that can succeed against the LORD." - Proverbs 21:30

That is an ultimate safeguard, but no one wants to butt up against that wall of last resort. We would prefer to apply Proverbs 16:3 which says, " Commit to the LORD whatever you do,  and your plans will succeed."

So, somewhere between stubborn, willful confidence that excludes all voices but our own on one side and hyper spiritual "go-with-the-flowism"  on the other is the place of good planning.

Good planning happens when we start with commitment to God. If you are not at that place in your spiritual journey, then at least go for truth. We start there and finish there.

It is a deficit of truth in planning that is often responsible for failures. We either did not have enough information or we did not interpret it accurately.

Then, we need good human advisers who are wise, informed, or skilled. These come in many forms:

  • Experts in their fields who make up for areas where we are not as well informed.
  • Generalists who have the ability to analyze data and strategies across a wide spectrum of disciplines.
  • Strategists who understand how processes work and how to map out the progress of a pan from start to finish.
  • Consumers who can tell us of their own self interests. They are the sources for much of our demographic information.
  • Spiritual mentors who help us seek God and examine our own motives.
  • Prayer partners who encourage us, mirror our hearts, and intercede for us.

We don't need to pan the plan; we need to plan the "I can!"

Our problem is not that we over-plan and exclude God; it is that we exclude Him by not planning enough and unconsciously exclude Him that way.

The commitment is the start, finish, and every breath of the planning process.

How to Diffuse the Fuse of the Infused

This proverb is probably not just for critics. It may apply to complainers, insubordinate subordinates, hard headed students, confrontational friends, unreasonable clients, irritated supervisors, and infuriating customers.

It teaches us to diffuse the fuse of the infused and prevent an explosive situation.

It is just good personal and business policy and it comes straight from the book of Provers, chapter 15, verse 1:

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger."

Notice two things that are not promised or stated.

We are not told that anger will not be present or directed toward us and we are not told that harsh words will necessarily create it where it does not exist. That may be true at times, but it is not the application here.

This admonition is about how to respond when the anger is already surfacing and it is coming at you.

Our natural tendency is to react rather than respond, to take offense, plan defense, and build a fence. The wise teacher or Proverbs counter-intuits as he often does. He recommends that we meet hostility with calm words and gentle speech and so take the fire out of the fuse that is sizzling toward an explosion.

Teachers know the power of lowering their voices to gain the attention of a class in turmoil. Customer service representatives are trained in this practice. Good law enforcement officers are skilled at restoring peace and bringing order with a display of quiet strength. All professionals learn that it is best not to escalate a bad situation to the next level of fury and cultivate the skill of the quiet answer.

Is it your desire to be successful or to would you prefer to win a shouting contest?

the promise here is biblically and psychologically sound. When the other person begins to speak faster and louder, counter it by speaking slower and softer. When the other attacks, find a way to receive his or her words with grace. When Someone tries to pick a fight, find a way to build a bridge.

there is no way to instruct the reader in all the techniques in one article. The purpose of this note is to create a willingness to try a better way.

Friends have been shaped from potential and former enemies. Loyal customers have been birthed from the labor pangs of conflict.

It is possible to turn away wrath unless you prefer to stir up anger.

Here's to your success.

- Tom Sims  - The Dream Factory

For more insight, I recomend:                Bob Burg: Winning Without Intimidation : How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion in Today's Real World in Order to Get What You Want, When You Want It

Bob Burg: Winning Without Intimidation : How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion in Today's Real World in Order to Get What You Want, When You Want It

Therefore ... Keep On

People have differing views of work ranging from dread to excitement - but very view people relish working in vain. We want something to show for our efforts.

In the fifteenth chapter of his first letter to Corinth, the Apostle Paul admonishes his friends, "Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

Perhaps the Corinthians suspected that it all might be for naught.

Everyone who uses a computer to communicate deeply felt convictions and intricate concepts has had the experience of seemingly working in vain. We have labored over thoughts and words for intense periods of time and have finally formulated those ideas into concrete sentences when the computer suddenly crashes and all is lost.

All of that for nothing! But not really.

We have meditated, wrestled, and have been shaped by truth. We may have to step away, take a break, or lick our wounds. However, the next time we write the same thing, it comes out a bit differently, but it comes nevertheless.

The process was about what was happening inside of us and not what was occurring on the screen or the page.

It is often that way.

The occasion for Paul's encouraging words was twofold. It came in recognition of the people's present concerns. All truth is wrapped in a veneer of present reality. We live in context and experience the full range of what it means to be human. We know pains and joys, satisfaction and discouragement. It is all a part of life. Add to that the ever-present, looming threat of death that eventually will overtake us all and we may wonder, "What is it all about?"

The second occasion he addresses is the future conviction that people of faith are going somewhere, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ has something more than an historical significance to His followers. In the earlier verses of the chapter, he expresses the conviction that resurrection hope is shared among all who embrace Jesus and live in the power of His death and life.

Everything has meaning, even the mundane and tedious experiences of life.

What follows is a threefold admonition. The NIV uses the words, "Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself to the work of the Lord."

The first admonition is to STAND.

It is hard to stand when the ground is shaking. For that reason, people who intend to live forever must find deeper grounding for their lives. They (we) cannot be controlled by our circumstances or our emotions. These are a part of our reality; they are not the sum total of it

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."

Another way he could have said this might have been, "Don't lose your footing." Remember what you believe. Remember where you are going. remember why you are doing what you are doing. Reconnect with what stabilizes you in your resolve and commitment.

Someone has said that if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

The second admonition is to WITHSTAND. "Let nothing move you."

We have some choices to make about what we will allow to move us. I choose God and God alone.

It is easy to place one's life in neutral when bombarded by a cacophony of voices and a barrage of influences all vying for our attention and compliance. Everyone wants our ears and our acquiescence.

Political, social, peer, commercial, moral, and familial voices tantalize, rationalize, and intimidate us into uncertainty about our core values and commitments.

That is what Paul is saying when he encourages the folks not to be moved.

Of course we need to challenge our presuppositions, prejudices, comfortable notions, and assumptions. He is not addressing these. He is talking about our life mission, or unchanging purpose for living, our devotion to God and His vision within us, and the work that we are called to do.

Keep on keeping on. Be not easily dissuaded from the cause. Persevere. Expect to be maligned, attacked, challenged, and inconvenienced, but stay with it.

The third admonition is to ABOUND.

He says we are to abound in the work of the Lord, always giving ourselves to it. The first admonition was abound grounding; the second was about rebounding in the face of opposition. Now we are looking at the call to be abounding in work itself.

It is about full engagement, heart devotion, energy investment, and enthusiasm.

"Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."

You can stand with deep conviction and withstand with stubborn tenacity, but it takes the power of the Holy Spirit within you to abound. You must rely on a strength greater than your own to fully engage.

The word "enthusiasm" means "God within."

The word, "inspired" means "breathed upon," as though by the very breath of God.

"Motivated" really means "moved to action."

Abound. As you know in the physical world, the body requires rest, replenishment of energy through nutrition, and exercise to abound. The health system Kaiser calls it "thrive."

In the realm of work that has abiding significance and eternal implications, the same is true. We must nourish ourselves spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically to abound in our work. Paul says that our labor is in the Lord which means that He supplies the tasks as well as the ability to do them.

Some of the tools we have for abounding are true for ministry, business, and social endeavors:

READ - For me, part of the diet, the biggest part, is the Bible, but I also read instructive, encouraging, motivating, and challenging books and articles from many sources.

PRAY - Engage in an honest, ongoing, satisfying, and open relationship with the Source of your life. "Pray without ceasing."

RELATE and PARTNER - In Christianity, we call this fellowship. In business and entrepreneurship, we call it networking. In any realm, it is the reality that we are not alone and the assurance that others are engaged in the mission that helps encourage us.

FOCUS -Christian words for this are obedience and faithfulness. We focus on what we are doing and  let lesser things go. We keep eyes on the prize and invest our time, energy, and love in what produces lasting results and deep change.

Stand, withstand, and abound or, you could say, ground, rebound, and abound. That is the threefold admonition.

Finally, he gives a grand assurance - Your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

God knows it is hard.  You know it and God knows it. Sometimes you just don't want to get up and have no idea where the energy will come from or how to muster the will, but you do in faith and it comes.

God knows it is discouraging. You will not always be complemented, appreciated, or affirmed. Stay with it. It is not in vain. There will come a day. The story has been told so many times that no one really knows the source or whether it is fiction or history. It may not be true, but it is truth:

An old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning to New York to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken; they were defeated, discouraged, and afraid. They discovered they were booked on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions.

            No one paid any attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President's entourage, with passengers trying to catch a             glimpse of the great man. As the ship moved across the ocean, the old  missionary said to his wife, "Something is wrong."  "Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years             and have no one care a thing about us?  Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots             about us."

            "Dear, you shouldn't feel that way", his wife said. He replied "I can't help it; it doesn't seem right."

            When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President's arrival. No one noticed this missionary couple. They slipped off the ship and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.

            That night the man's spirit broke. He said to his wife, "I can't take this; God is not treating us fairly". His wife replied, "Why don't you go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?"

            A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"  "The Lord             settled it with me", he said. "I told Him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put             His hand on my shoulder and simply said;

            "But you're not home yet."

That is because God knows the outcome. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him."

You are going somewhere and your labor is not in vain.

Keep on keeping on.

- Tom Sims The Dream Factory

Judge William Kent Hamlin on Getting a Life

I had an occasion to sit in Judge William Kent Hamlin's court for half a day this week as an observer. He did what most judges do, moved agenda, shuffled papers, read obligatory minutia over and over, and granted requests from lawyers with predetermined outcomes. Primarily, he did what we pay him to do - clear calendars.

But from time to time, he had the opportunity to be a wise judge and in one brief statement, I saw that blatantly demonstrated.

Without looking up except to glance briefly at the man in the dock, he rather shyly and without fanfare muttered these profound words that should be addressed by every person who is engaged in dead end behaviors. They ought to have been shouted, engraved, published, and disseminated widely.

Since he probably won't, I will. Good job, Judge.

He was sentencing a repeat drug offender to 3 years (2 plus an enhancement) for burglary - rather routinely, dispassionately, courteously, and with the agreement of all the lawyers in the room.

He asked and observed, "Can the dope be that good that for the last 13 years of your life you've done nothing but steal stuff and do time to get it? I'd like you to think about that for the next year and a half or so in custody and maybe on parole. Maybe this time you'll decide to kick the habit and get a life."

As a pastor, encourager, coach, and friend, that rang a bell with me. We work with people regularly who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, failure, negativity, sin, professional victimization, bigotry, and chronic lethargy among other self-destructive attitudes and behaviors. Some result in societal crimes; others are more personal; all affect other people. All keep people from "getting a life" and rising above their limits on the road to success and significance.

Judge Hamlin might want to consider becoming a network marketing trainer once he has done his time on the bench reading long, boring edicts for a living because he hit the nail on the head and his words could not have been truer. No pastor I know could have said them better.

And he did a really good job of not being condescending or letting on that his heart was truly broken with genuine human care and concern for the guy that stood before him. I saw it and I am exposing him here and now as a compassionate judge who really cares about his people.

More so, we can all take the words he so truthfully spoke to heart. How long will we let dead-end attitudes, behaviors, and habits keep us from becoming the people we were made to be? how long will we let such lesser things cloud our dreams, obscure our goals, and sidetrack the activities and commitments that get us what we truly desire in life?

What is stopping you?

Would you be willing to stop what is stopping you?

Judge Hamlin gave that man a gift. If he has any active sense at all that has not been repressed by years of drug use, he will see it as a gift and avail himself of the opportunity of considering his ways. I pray that his eyes will be opened, his heart warmed, and his life redeemed. I also pray that for you and for myself because it is housecleaning time for all of us.

It is time to lay aside what Hebrews 12 called, "the sin that doth so easily beset us" and begin to run "the race that is set before us."

What is the sin? It is whatever keeps you from running the race.

Thanks, Judge Hamlin. Good work. Thanks for doing my job. Will you start today or can the dope be that good?

- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory

Do You Know?

I imagine that you know this, but in case you have forgotten, you are a very important part of something that is far bigger than yourself.

You are integral to something that without you is not complete and without which you are incomplete.

I know it is a mind bender of a concept, but your life and success are interwoven with the lives and successes of the many upon which you rely to encourage and equip you for greatness. We are a part of each other.

In giving we receive; in encouraging, we are encouraged; in helping we are helped; in lifting up another, we are lifted up.

It is a timeless, eternal, and enduring principle with divine authorship and perpetual power.

And it is for you to exercise.

In affirming your own place in the greater scheme of things you are not abandoning humility; you are applying it. You are not becoming prideful; you are overcoming pride. In letting God love you through you, you are not becoming narcissistic; you are accepting a gift that is being freely, graciously, and extravagantly offered by one who desires nothing better than for you to receive it.

You are qualifying yourself to be a conduit of love, acceptance, encouragement, and empowerment for others. Not to accept such love and affirmation is to take yourself out of the roll that others disparately need for you to embody this very day.

As you pass through the maze of responsibilities that are yours within the next 24 hours, there will be divine appointments which have been calendared for you so that you can add value to the lives of others. Someone is waiting for what only you can give them. If you have not first received it, you will be ill equipped to give it.

And if you do not give it, you will not be open to receive the one they have been entrusted with for you.

In case you did not know or have forgotten, your success at being the you that you were made to be is vital to someone else becoming the person he or she was made to be. It is your calling to be yourself, fully, faithfully, joyfully, and successfully.

It is not just about you, but neither is it without you. I have shirts that never leave the hangers in my closet because they are missing one tiny component - a button. You are never so small or insignificant as to not make a big difference.

You are you and you are special.

So go out and be the best you that you can be by God's grace and with His help, knowing that you are loved and that you are are very important part of something that is far bigger than yourself.


It is 9-11 and every blogger, commentator, and preacher is waking up with a feeling of obligation to say something.

I think almost everything has been said somewhere by someone.

It happened. It was awful. We must never forget. It changed some things ...

... but not nearly as many things as some folks predicted.

True, it was the reason for one war and  at least the stated reason for another where many more lives have been lost than in the initial attack. We have some longer lines. We have opened ourselves up for compromises of our personal freedoms without blinking an eye. We have become more tolerant of secrecy in government.

In those respects, perhaps the terrorists have won a few battles. They wanted to make us more like them and they have, to a degree, succeeded.

In another respect, they have lost. Young men and women have stepped forward to defend their country sacrificially. People have been more cooperative than they once were with minor inconveniences. Certain legitimate security measures have been taken to close loopholes. Our eyes are more observant of our surroundings. We have sought to understand how the rest of the world thinks.

It is years later and the remarkable thing is that this grotesque act of utter futility and devastating evil did not destroy western civilization or dramatically alter our lifestyles. It did not destroy us. Even the stock market quickly bounced back.

History is full of conflict, ideological and political. It is full of atrocities, some of which "our people" have committed.

Civilization has survived and God is still in charge of the final outcomes.

Starbucks Online

In the Field of Dreams, a character asks Ray, "Is this Heaven?" He answers, "No. It's Iowa." I know Starbucks isn't Heaven, but I can't think of anyway for the Internet to get better than for Starbucks to go online. Here is the evidence:

I'll take mine venti with room for cream.

Wake Up

There is a device at the head of my bed with which I have a love/hate relationship. It gives me a degree of comfort - the kind that comes with discipline and safety while also being an enemy to my comfort.

The very name of the device evokes images of fear, terror, shock, and awe: ALARM.

"Don't be alarmed," is a common way of assuring people that there is no reason to be disturbed, frightened, or unsettled.

But  that is what my alarm clock does to me every morning - so much so that I often wake up on my own to avoid being jarred from my rest by its sudden and obnoxious emission of offensive sound.

It alarms me.

So, I subconsciously avoid hearing it, wake up in a sluggish manner, turn it off, switch it to radio, and listen to the news while I wake up gently.

I've been known to wake up every half hour or more and look at when I am scheduled for an extremely early morning assignment.

I've been known to shake it and perform other bizarre behaviors surrounding it in my half-wakeful, half-asleep states.

No one likes to be alarmed.

However, I need this backup plan. The demands of our lives mandate a reminder that it is time to wake up, get up, and get going whether we are ready or not. We have appointments to keep, jobs to do, and responsibilities to administer. We simply have to wake up and we may need some sort of alarm to assure that we do.

So, what is there to be alarmed about every morning at 4, 5, 6, or 7? What are the requirements and where is the wiggle room (the snooze button factor)?

We are to be alarmed at the possibility that we will miss the possibilities that the day has in store.

Of course, there are practical considerations such as loss of job, missing classes, not getting the kids to school on time, and having to rush through breakfast and quiet time, but the real issue is possibility.

Every day has something in store to be embraced with enthusiasm and wonder. Missing that something is cause for alarm, so we sound the alarm at a predetermined time.

You needed no alarm as a child for Christmas morning, but now, as old fuddie duddies who have lost some of that childlike wonder, we need a little help.

What are the alarms in your life that alert you to wake up to the possibilities around you? They are not always pleasant to hear.  They may help you wake up on your own to avoid hearing them. Yet, they are necessary reminders that life is good and that this day could be a major turning point in your life.

Wake up. You may meet the person today who hands you a key to a great mystery or a marvelous future. You may read one idea or hear one insight that will unravel the tangled mess of confusion with which you have been struggling.

Today is yours. Don't stagger through it in a flog of oblivious indifference. Don't sleepwalk through this day.

If you miss the possibilities, that is something to be alarmed about!

The Dream Factory

Jonah 4 – Running Ahead of God – His Heart or Our Agenda?

Jonah was doing fine. He was doing what he had no desire to do and getting the kind of success that he never wanted.

It was an ideal ministry – sort of.

The hand of God was upon him, but the heart of God was not in him. Yet, he was running with God up until the time that the people of Nineveh repented and God relented. Then, he pouted and began to run ahead of God.

Here is the Word of the Lord:

“ 1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live."“

Jonah was greatly displeased. Make no mistake about it. He was not merely displeased with the circumstances. He was displeased with God. He didn’t like the way God handled things. He didn’t agree with God’s purpose. He liked absolutely nothing about this situation.

So what did he do?

Out of his intense displeasure, Jonah did what most of us are afraid to do. He prayed.

So, are you angry or displeased with God or something He has done or not done according to your expectations, ideas, or preferences? Have you discussed the matter with Him? I think the first step toward coming back into sync with Him is coming clean about where your heart really is.


Here is what He prayed:

“God, if you really want to know why I didn’t want to go to Nineveh, this is it. You are a compassionate God. You are slow to anger and full of love and, frankly, I thin k you are a little “wishy washy” about how you carry out your threats. The least little repentance from these yahoos, and you change your mind. So go ahead and kill me, because this kind of life is not worth living and I really don’t want to be a prophet who is known for his prophecies not coming true.”

And what follows is …. NOTHING!

No lightening bolts from heaven, no sudden death, just a question:

“4 But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?" “

We would really like to get angry and be left alone most of the time – or heard with the desired effect of someone being completely caught off guard and then changing their behavior to our desired outcome.

God answers Jonah’s rant calmly, but firmly – not the way Jonah wanted. He did not desire to have his rant challenged, but god did it anyway.

He asks Jonah if he really thought he was within his rights to be angry about this matter. Jonah does not answer. He can’t answer. Most anger is not rational. When we are confronted with our irrationality, we have no answer. We just storm off and pout.

We truly believe it is our right.

Aren’t you glad we have a patient God who gives us a little space to work things out and come to our senses? And then, when we don’t, He gets back in our faces and tries again … and again .., and with increasing intensity until we confront the real issues.

When we run ahead of God, we abandon the heart of God.

Our hearts are not beating in rhythm with His.

“5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.”

Jonah takes his pout outside the city and there are some interesting characteristics to it.

 The first is that he sets himself apart from what God is doing. He removes himself from the city. When we get ahead of God with our own agendas, we often do just that. We remove ourselves from the center of His activity. If you are feeling apart from what God is doing, ask yourself if you have moved.

 The second characteristic is that he attempts to make himself comfortable. Arrogance and pride crave comfort. We desire the comfort of our own preferences, of peaceful shelter, of a detached view of things, and of our biased opinions.

 The third characteristic is that is evident in Jonah’s pout is a strange sort of denial that continues to hope that God will come around to our way of thinking and act in the way we think he should. Jonah had seen the city repent and had seen God relent, but still he sat down from a distance to watch them fail and come under the wrath of God. He was cheering for the wrong side.

"6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine."

There is no human explanation for the love, compassion, and patience of God. The same grace He showed to Jonah when he was running away and later in midst of the sea, is what he showed to the people of Nineveh. It is the same that he now offers to Jonah again.

As much as Jonah does to make himself comfortable, he is still in a state of discomfort as we all are when we are outside of the will of God and the rhythm of His heartbeat. Running from God is not a comforting place to be, so God gives Jonah some temporal and temporary comfort – just to get him to the next place where He can deal with his heart.

At the moment, Jonah was happy. He was beginning to rely upon the temporal, temporary comfort of the vine in much the same way that we take for granted the blessings God gives us and become addicted to our comforts.

He could almost forget how displeased he was with what God was or was not doing about Nineveh.

But God was simply waiting for Jonah to be ready for the next encounter with truth.

Don’t get complacent with your earthly comforts. God is not averse to shaking things up to move you beyond where you are to where He wants you to be.

"7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."“

God provided a fish in the sea and a worm in the desert. Both were about grace and neither were obviously so.

The temporary, temporal blessing of the vine was gone and now Jonah was back to where he had begun at the start of this chapter. He was left only with his disgruntled attitude and again, he wanted to die.

The pout was back and so was the question God had let ride for a season: “Do you have the right to be angry?”

Now Jonah is not only angry, but he is faint and depleted. His fight is gone. He is depressed and lethargic and yet, he answers with a resounding, “YES I DO!”

“9 But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?"

      "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die." “

Just how angry is one when one is “angry enough to die?” People commit suicide every day in this world to get back at other people. They shoot themselves in the feet, sink their own ships, and sabotage their own lives because they are mad at someone else.

But God does not deal with his threat. He has a larger purpose and a larger issue. If Jonah can get this one, he can get over wanting to die and start to live at a higher level, his heart beating with the heartbeat of God, running at God’s pace, living in His grace.

“10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"”

The vine had been an object lesson. It was about a larger lesson that God wanted to teach.

Like many of us, Jonah was thinking it was all about the vine, but it was not. Nor was it all about Nineveh – or Jonah’s wounded pride or damaged reputation or loss of power and influence. It was about the heart of God, a heart that beats with compassion for people.

That was the lesson for Jonah. It was the lesson that God wanted to teach Israel centuries later as the story was told and retold and eventually written down.

God’s love and compassion are not just for you. They are for the world.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

It is not about the vine in your life, not about your pride, reputation, preferences, prejudices, power, or comfort. It is about the mission of God. It is about the heart of God.

Anything else is your own agenda.

Anything else is running ahead of God.

It is an unholy pout.

God gets the last word in this book and He had better get the last word in your life.

What could Jonah have said? Actually, it is unimportant. We know that He told the truth about it because no one else could have known and told the story. He told it. He gave God the last word. He made himself out to look like the bad guy. He obviously learned the lesson. Otherwise, we would have never heard.

But the response is left blank at the end of the book of Jonah – for us to fill in the blanks – for us to ‘get it,” and modify our attitudes and behaviors.

This day, each of us has a decision to make in each of our hearts. Will be step back from our own feelings, beliefs, and preferences and listen to the heart of God? Are we willing to put aside our own agendas and take up His? Are we willing to repent of wanting our own way and desire only His purposes?

Are we willing to run with God with full heart engagement and absolute submission to his will?

God may be using you and have His hand upon you, but you will be miserable until your heart beats with His.

Make the change today. It is a simply change of mind and He will do the heavy lifting in your heart.

Now is the time.


With the death of Pavarotti, a great voice has been silenced and the world is a poorer place. He defined "tenor" for a generation and interpreted opera, art music, and culture to masses of humanity who would have otherwise shrugged it off as a mere remnant from an irrelevant past.

He made music live with every role he played and every song he sang.

Fellow tenor, Placido Domingo, said, "I always admired the God-given glory of his voice — that unmistakable special timbre from the bottom up to the very top of the tenor range,"

It is hard to imagine a world without a Pavarotti in it.

Italian tenor Pavarotti dies at 71 AP

D. James Kennedy

Simply put, D. James Kennedy taught me how to simply, boldly, and effectively share my faith in Jesus Christ and lead people gently, respectfully, and positively to the place where they could make their own informed decision to trust in Him. Dr. Kennedy did this through Evangelism Explosion. Through this one ministry, now in every nation on earth, Dr. Kennedy has impacted hundreds of millions of lives for eternity.

Much of what I now know about evangelism and faith-sharing, I first learned as a student of D. James Kennedy's teachings. It may also be said that most of what I have built upon as a Christian business person and entrepreneur, pastor, encourager, and salesman, I first wrestled with in his lessons on how Jesus used the laws of selling to influence people.

In Evangelism Explosion, I first encountered the importance and simplicity of multiplied ministry, influence, and time leverage through training other people a few at a time and through geometric progression, exploding potential into massive movements of truth and grace.

I am grateful for the gift of D. James Kennedy, saddened by his loss, and joyful that he is now in the presence of the One to whom he has led so many.

Watch Coral Ridge Hour

Click picture to view video tribute.

Running With God - Jonah 3

In Jonah 3, we find a man who has had a turn-about in his life reluctantly relenting and pursuing the call of God to go to a strange and hostile place to proclaim a message that will have one of two results.

The first possible result would be that his message would be received with characteristic hostility, rejection, and perhaps, violence. These folks, after all, had never listened before and they were the enemies of his country.

The second possible result was almost unbearable for Jonah to stomach. It repulsed him. It was the glimmer of chance that the people might receive the message and find mercy. The judgment that he, as a prophet, had been announcing would be diverted and God would have compassion on his enemies.

That is exactly what happened.

The Man of God

Jonah became, once again, the kind of man of God that God could use. This involved three areas of submission on his part. The first was a willingness to follow orders. He didn't have to like them; he just had to follow them. The second was mobility. He had to be willing to get up and go wherever it was he needed to go to do what he needed to do. The third was integrity. That meant he had to deliver the message he was given in all its simplicity and without adding to it or taking away from it.

Jonah met those three requirements. He was not perfect, but he was available to be the man of God that God was calling for that hour.

The Hand of God

The second and more important feature of this portion of the story is the visible outworking of the hand of God through Jonah and among the people of Nineveh.

Three principles of God's handiwork can be seen here.The first is that God works through proclamation. It does not have to be complex or eloquent; it must be His Word and it must be faithful, to His Word. The second is that God works from the bottom up. He started a stirring among the rank and file people of the city and it made its way up the ladder of power. The third is that God works from the top down as well as the King of the city received the message, he also responded and exercised his leadership to issue a proclamation  of repentance.

The Heart of God

In the response of God to the repentance of the people, we see His heart. It beats with compassion. It is flexible in methodology, but persistent in purpose. God cares about people. That is His compassion. He has a purpose to be known and worshiped by all and He is persistent in it. That means that He is willing to change His announced methodology to accomplish what He wants to do.

Jonah would not be happy as we will see in subsequent verses, but God was delighted. He accomplished what He had always intended to, the redemption of a people and reconciliation.